Interfaith Harmony Week in Calgary this year will go beyond encouraging different traditions to live together. One of its featured events will explore how different faiths can live under the same roof.
A breakfast event today will feature the theme of multi-faith families, and how congregations can open their doors to families of two (or more) faiths. It’s part of the Feb. 1 to 7 celebration of UN World Interfaith Harmony week, which in Calgary will build on the city’s already high – and accelerating – level of religious interconnectedness.
Rabbi Shaul Osadchey, a member of the Calgary Interfaith Council steering committee who approached Mayor Naheed Nenshi to proclaim city support for the week, says it will show how faith groups can work together to make positive community changes.
“There is an interest among the different traditions of building bridges, of cooperating together and fostering harmony — which is the word of the week — in ways that strengthen everyone and minimize the intolerance and ignorance people have about religion and its role in civic life,” Osadchey says.
An opening ceremony at City Hall included the launch of a newly amalgamated Calgary Interfaith Council as the central organization for interfaith activities across the city. The new council will have greater capacity to run dialogues between the different faiths, promote educational programs and social justice efforts, facilitate interfaith worship services, as well as host virtual and in-person tours of religious spaces.
But the week will also be a literal opening of doors as Calgarians are invited to visit 11 places of worship in the city to see for themselves how traditions other than their own live faith as part of daily life.
Pulpit exchanges at houses of worship are planned throughout the week to enhance understanding of various religious traditions, including a daybreak contemplative service that embraces silence. Participants can use a passport for the week and receive a stamp when they visit a house of worship.